Deadline Approaches to End Resale of Lifeline

JSI again reminds clients that effective August 15, 2016, eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) that sell Lifeline-discounted services to resellers will no longer be eligible for Lifeline support for those customers. Going forward, ETCs will only receive reimbursement for Lifeline service provided directly to subscribers. The FCC’s Lifeline Order seeks to reduce the risk of reimbursement from the fund by two ETCs, in this case, both the wholesale provider and the reseller. With this decision, the FCC has also effectively eliminated the ability of non-ETC resale providers from providing Lifeline service.

Furthermore, if your company resells Lifeline service, your company must submit the appropriate FCC and state notices and discontinuance filings. For the FCC filing, impacted ETCs should have already provided notice to the resellers and submitted a Section 214 Discontinuance Application to the FCC to discontinue its resale of Lifeline service in order to meet the August 15 deadline. If your company resells Lifeline service and has not made this filing, please contact us immediately if you would like our assistance.

In addition, ETCs are no longer obligated to provide Lifeline-discounted service at resale under Section 251 (c)(4) of the Telecommunications Act. This duty to resell service at a discount is only required of ILECs that have given up their rural exemption, but JSI notes that some rural ILECs also may have entered into resale agreements with carriers offering service at the full tariffed rate. As a result, any ILEC with agreements that include provisions to resell local service, and more specifically Lifeline, should amend these agreements by the August 15 deadline. The FCC did make provisions, if necessary, for an ILEC to file a waiver to request additional time, for good cause shown, if it is unable to amend agreements by the deadline.

If you have any questions or you would like JSI’s assistance with this Lifeline change, please contact Lans Chase in JSI’s Georgia office at 770-569-2105 or Lisa McLaughlin in our Texas office at 512-338-0473.

Source: JSI e-Lert